80 books like The Fissured Workplace

By David Weil,

Here are 80 books that The Fissured Workplace fans have personally recommended if you like The Fissured Workplace. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From my list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book is a wonderful example of how an author can explain but not judge the complexities and contradictions of our modern economy. Chatelain explains the role fast food franchising, and McDonald’s in particular, has played in African American economic and social life since the 1960s. What I found so striking about this was the honest ambivalence: McDonald’s sells unhealthy foods that contribute to obesity and other health problems, and it pays generally exploitative wages; but at the same time, owning a McDonald’s franchise can be a way for African American entrepreneurs to thrive and build both wealth and political power in their communities.

By Marcia Chatelain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Franchise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just as The Color of Law provided a vital understanding of redlining and racial segregation, Marcia Chatelain's Franchise investigates the complex interrelationship between black communities and America's largest, most popular fast food chain. Taking us from the first McDonald's drive-in in San Bernardino to the franchise on Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, in the summer of 2014, Chatelain shows how fast food is a source of both power-economic and political-and despair for African Americans. As she contends, fast food is, more than ever before, a key battlefield in the fight for racial justice.


Book cover of An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From my list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Why did Benjamin love this book?

Levinson is a rare thing among economists: he is willing to admit what we don’t understand.

This book argues that global productivity declined in the 1970s compared to the 30 years after World War II, and no one knows why. It seems that, under capitalism, economic growth is normally just very slow, and the fast postwar growth was the aberration. But what really matters is how political leaders responded, making a series of bad decisions to try to appease people’s over-inflated expectations of growth. And this happened all over the world, from the U.S. to Germany to Japan to Latin America. This is the book that let me understand every aspect of modern life in the last 50 years—from stagnant wages to the roller-coaster casino economy to political dysfunction to gig companies.

By Marc Levinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Extraordinary Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Washington Post and Strategy+Business Book of the Year.

Stagnant wages. Feeble growth figures. An angry, disillusioned public. The early 1970s witnessed the arrival of the problems that define the twenty-first century.

In An Extraordinary Time, Marc Levinson investigates how the oil crisis of the 1970s marked a radical turning point in global economics: and paved the way for the political and financial troubles of the present. Tracing the remarkable transformation of the global economy in the years after World War II, Levinson explores how decades of spectacular economic growth ended almost overnight - giving way to an era of…


Book cover of Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From my list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book is the most readable treatment I’ve encountered of a very complicated and theoretical set of ideas about how corporations have changed—not only in their legal structure but as social creatures—in the last century. Lemann makes the difficult theories of thinkers like Adolf Berle, John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, and Michael Jensen easy to understand and fun to read about. And in the process, he explains how corporations lost their “souls”—how we reached a point where companies are finance-obsessed, detached from their communities, and fixated on short-term profits and not long-term stability.

By Nicholas Lemann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Transaction Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Amazon Best History Book of 2019

"A splendid and beautifully written illustration of the tremendous importance public policy has for the daily lives of ordinary people." —Ryan Cooper, Washington Monthly

Over the last generation, the United States has undergone seismic changes. Stable institutions have given way to frictionless transactions, which are celebrated no matter what collateral damage they generate. The concentration of great wealth has coincided with the fraying of social ties and the rise of inequality. How did all this come about?

In Transaction Man, Nicholas Lemann explains the United States’—and the world’s—great transformation by examining three remarkable…


Book cover of The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From my list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book captures the decline of the traditional job—stable, well-paid, with a good chance of moving up—between World War II and the end of the 20th century. Wartzman is a clear, engaging writer who tells gripping stories about workers, bosses, chief executives, and politicians to explain what the old “social contract” between big companies and American society was, and why it disappeared. But he’s also particularly good at not overly romanticizing the earlier era, when huge swaths of people—like women, people of color, immigrants, the disabled, and others—were cut out of the workforce by prejudice and racism. This book makes business and labor history engaging and entertaining, even while it will make you mad about how bad things have become.

By Rick Wartzman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of Loyalty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this richly detailed and eye-opening book, Rick Wartzman chronicles the erosion of the relationship between American companies and their workers. Through the stories of four major employers--General Motors, General Electric, Kodak, and Coca-Cola--he shows how big businesses once took responsibility for providing their workers and retirees with an array of social benefits. At the height of the post-World War II economy, these companies also believed that worker pay needed to be kept high in order to preserve morale and keep the economy humming. Productivity boomed.

But the corporate social contract didn't last. By tracing the ups and downs of…


Book cover of The Long Deep Grudge: A Story of Big Capital, Radical Labor, and Class War in the American Heartland

Priscilla Murolo Author Of From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: A Short, Illustrated History of Labor in the United States

From my list on labor history bringing personal stories to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I discovered labor history during a decade-long hiatus between my first and second years in college. Before that, I had never enjoyed reading about the past, unless it was in a novel. Then I discovered slave narratives and they inspired wider reading about workers’ lives. I loved both the drama of stories about resistance to oppression and the optimism I derived from understanding working people as historical protagonists. Now, as a professional historian, I often approach the past in a more academic way, but dramatic stories continue to attract me and knowledge that working people united have achieved great things in the past still gives me hope for humanity’s future

Priscilla's book list on labor history bringing personal stories to life

Priscilla Murolo Why did Priscilla love this book?

As a reader of history, I’m often drawn to novels, and when it comes to historical nonfiction, I favor books that combine epic tales with personal drama.

The Long Deep Grudge hits that nail on the head. It recounts the long-running conflict between the Farm Equipment Workers (FE)—a small communist-led labor union—and the corporate behemoth International Harvester. It also features a host of memorable individuals: radical and anticommunist labor leaders, captains of industry, public officials dedicated to preserving private wealth, and rank-and-file workers fighting for power on the job out of love for one another as well as anger at the boss.

Although the FE ultimately fell victim to the Red Scare, this is a fundamentally inspiring book about how much a militant democratic union can accomplish. 

By Toni Gilpin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Long Deep Grudge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2020 Book of the Year * International Labor History Association

Honorable Mention * Philip Taft Labor History Prize

This rich history details the bitter, deep-rooted conflict between industrial behemoth International Harvester and the uniquely radical Farm Equipment Workers union. The Long Deep Grudge makes clear that class warfare has been, and remains, integral to the American experience, providing up-close-and-personal and long-view perspectives from both sides of the battle lines.

International Harvester - and the McCormick family that largely controlled it - garnered a reputation for bare-knuckled union-busting in the 1880s, but in the 20th century also pioneered sophisticated union-avoidance techniques…


Book cover of The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life

Vincent Doumeizel Author Of The Seaweed Revolution: How Seaweed Has Shaped Our Past and Can Save Our Future

From my list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an optimistic citizen of the world, I travelled the globe to witness famine in Africa and seaweed farming in Asia. Having worked on food systems for twenty-five years and being the father of three children, I was looking for solutions to feed the coming generation with hopes instead of fears! That’s how I ended up working for a visionary charity (Lloyd’s Register Foundation) and leading a “Seaweed Revolution” for United Nations Global Compact as well as writing book to spread the gospel of neglected Ocean Based Solutions. The books I have recommended here all give hope through examples from the past and present and provide readers with practical toolkits for creating positive change.

Vincent's book list on the world is getting better and the best is yet to come

Vincent Doumeizel Why did Vincent love this book?

This is another book that can inspire you in your daily life and change your perspective. A call for happiness!

Despite what we believe, happiness breeds success, and not the other way around… quite an important distinction. This very well-researched book by a specialist from Harvard University also argues that our brain is flexible enough to change whatever our age, and that it is always possible to mitigate our negative perception of reality.

This leads to a more positive way of thinking that will create the conditions to achieve what we want and lead an exciting life! After reading this book, you’ll be able to make happiness contagious and promote the cause like an activist! A must-read for the next generation. 

By Shawn Achor,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Happiness Advantage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most people want to be successful in life. And of course, everyone wants to be happy. When it comes to the pursuit of success and happiness, most people assume the same formula: if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you'll be happy. The only problem is that a decade of cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology has proven that this formula is backwards. Success does not beget happiness.

Based on the largest study ever conducted on happiness and human potential (a survey conducted by the author of more than 1,600 students),…


Book cover of The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

David Amadio Author Of Rug Man

From my list on working life.

Why am I passionate about this?

The blue-collar everyman lives on the periphery, coming and going with little fanfare. But what does he think and feel? How does he view the world? I became interested in these questions while working for my father’s rug business. I started as a part-timer in the early 90s, straddling the line between academe and the homes of the rich. He employed me for the next twenty years, supplementing my income as I found my way as a university professor. The books listed led me to a deeper appreciation of my father’s vocation, but only in writing Rug Man did I come to understand the true meaning of work. 

David's book list on working life

David Amadio Why did David love this book?

In this profound yet highly readable book, the contemporary French philosopher Alain de Botton profiles a number of career professionals, among them an accountant, a painter, a transmission engineer, and yes, a rocket scientist.

At the heart of de Botton’s enquiry is a rather simple question: Is work more than just making money? I believe that it is, and the philosopher’s conclusions say as much.

He urges workers of all stripes to “make an imaginative connection between what they have done with their working days and their impact upon others.” Writing these recommendations has been a kind of work, and it’s not hard for me to imagine that my words have had some impact upon you, my reader, an influence, hopefully, beyond the decision to purchase my book

By Alain de Botton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From one of our greatest voices in modern philosophy, author of The Course of Love, The Consolations of Philosophy, Religion for Atheists and The School of Life - a lucid exploration of the state in which most of us spend most of our lives

'De Botton's wit and powers of ironic observation are on display throughout what is a stylish and original book. The workplace brings out the best in his writing' Sunday Times

'Timely, wonderfully readable. De Botton has pretty much got to the bottom of the subject' Spectator

'Terribly funny, touches us all' Daily Mail

'Brilliant, enormously engaging'…


Book cover of The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling

Joanne B. Ciulla Author Of The Working Life: The Promise and Betrayal of Modern Work

From my list on reads when your job is ruining your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one point in my life, I took Ph.D. classes in the morning, taught philosophy in the afternoon, and tended bar at night. I was always working, and money was tight. Then, one day at a faculty meeting, my colleagues and I discussed developing an appealing new course. I suggested one on the philosophy of work and ended up teaching it and writing my dissertation on work and moral values. I loved teaching the class to the part-time students. They came to class straight from work and shared their experiences. Those students taught me more about work than any book in the library. Years later, I wrote The Working Life.

Joanne's book list on reads when your job is ruining your life

Joanne B. Ciulla Why did Joanne love this book?

This book explains why, even though you don’t do physical labor, you’re exhausted at the end of the workday. It’s because jobs that involve interacting with the public require emotional labor. You must act your part and put on your work face. Hochschild’s research examines the toll that things like having to smile and being nice to obnoxious, insulting people can take on a person.

By Arlie Russell Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Managed Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In private life, we try to induce or suppress love, envy, and anger through deep acting or "emotion work", just as we manage our outer expressions of feeling through surface acting. In trying to bridge a gap between what we feel and what we "ought" to feel, we take guidance from "feeling rules" about what is owing to others in a given situation. Based on our private mutual understandings of feeling rules, we make a "gift exchange" of acts of emotion management. We bow to each other not simply from the waist, but from the heart. But what occurs when…


Book cover of The Project 50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every "Task" into a Project That Matters!

Mitch Joel Author Of Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.

From my list on creating content that put your butt where your heart is.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been creating content since I was a day camp counselor (launching a newsletter for the staff!). Since then, I’ve done everything from interview Motley Crue, Metallica and Nirvana to Tom Peters, Susan Cain and beyond. I started my blog, Six Pixels of Separation, back in 2003 and my podcast (of the same name) is the longest running business podcast in the world. I wrote two books, Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete. With that, I even run a private Facebook group for some of the world’s most known business and non-fiction authors. I’m a word nerd. I collect comics (and graphics) novels and spend too much time reading. I’m also a huge collector of books on writing, how to write, interview with writers, and other content creators. So… what’s going to get your ideas into actionable content? I think these books might help ☺

Mitch's book list on creating content that put your butt where your heart is

Mitch Joel Why did Mitch love this book?

This is not an easy book to find. It’s a small and short hardcover book where famed management legend, Tom Peters, lays out the how to turn your personal brand (and your work) into a project… but not just any project. Tom believes that every aspect of your work should be a Wow! Project. The book is 50 easy-to-grasp sections that have, without a doubt, changed my approach to everything from writing an article to starting a business. This book is a hidden gem… I’m quasi-mad that I’m sharing it publicly, it’s been a great secret advantage. ;)

By Tom Peters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Project 50 (Reinventing Work) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The common denominator/bottom line for both the professional service firm/PSF and the individual/Brand You is: the project. And for the cool individual in the cool professional service firm there is only one answer: the cool project.
A seminar participant said: "Reward excellent failures. Punish mediocre successes." So, how many of you are at work -- right now -- on "mediocre successes"? At work on projects that won't be recalled, let alone recalled with fondness and glee, a year from now?

We don't study professional service firms. (Mistake.) And we don't study WOW Projects. (Worse mistake.) There is, of course, a…


Book cover of Rupturing The Dialectic: The Struggle Against Work, Money, and Financialization

Anitra Nelson Author Of Beyond Money: A Postcapitalist Strategy

From my list on anti-capitalist struggles for a postcapitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t think of myself as a dreamer but, rather, a hard-headed activist scholar. Globally, most of us live under the domination of production for trade. We have ceded co-governance of production—collectively deciding what we produce, how we produce it, and for whom—to the abstract logic of markets operated via money. We face two great challenges reproduced by capitalism—growing socio-political inequities and ecological unsustainability. So, I argue that we must replace monetary values and operating systems with ‘real’, social and ecological, values and production for demand, for the basic needs of humans and the planet. Postcapitalism means moving beyond money to realize our self-value and emancipation. 

Anitra's book list on anti-capitalist struggles for a postcapitalism

Anitra Nelson Why did Anitra love this book?

Cleaver by name, cleaver by nature? Certainly, as an analyst following in Marx’s footsteps, Harry Cleaver resembles a nimble knife aspiring to a heavy-duty hatchet.

His ideas are impressive but make easy reading. So much so, he has attracted a great following since the publication of his now classic work Reading Capital Politically (1979). Rupturing the Dialectic (2017) is one of Cleaver’s most recent books. In three parts, he sings the praises of Marx’s work-oriented concept of ‘value’, delves into ‘decoding’ the financial sphere that currently mires us, and argues that "getting rid of money and markets entirely is not only a necessary condition for getting rid of capitalism but also desirable in its own right."

Observe the cleaver in action!

By Harry Cleaver,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rupturing The Dialectic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Rupturing the Dialectic rejects the quietism inherent in all economistic approaches to the current crises within capitalism, and furnishes working people with a clear, concrete, sensible program for how to move forward. This is a fine book, and it is one from which activists will greatly benefit." —David Sherman, author of Sartre and Adorno

"Cleaver's theory of the value of labor to capital, explanation of money as a critical mediator of class conflicts, and discussion of strategies for resistance and transformation are remarkable. Rupturing the Dialectic offers emancipating ways to understand everyday life and financial crises in capitalism today." —Anitra…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in work, the quality of working life, and corporation?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about work, the quality of working life, and corporation.

Work Explore 27 books about work
The Quality Of Working Life Explore 11 books about the quality of working life
Corporation Explore 41 books about corporation